September is a great month almost everywhere, with usually pleasantly warm but not uncomfortably hot days along with nights that have an invigorating coolness. It's a particularly nice time for walking and hiking.
Though active around the Northeast, and with headquarters in Boston, the Appalachian Mountain Club (www.outdoors.org) has been associated with the White Mountains of New Hampshire since its founding in 1876. Welcome havens for hikers and climbers, the AMC's White Mountain lodges and high huts were nonetheless pretty Spartan, with bunk beds and simple if hearty food.
Times change. The AMC's newest facility, Highland Center Lodge at Crawford Notch, Bretton Woods, N.H., in the heart of the Whites, caters to people -- many seniors among them -- who like a little comfort with their outdoor recreation.
The many activities at the center include guided walks and hikes suitable for all ages and abilities. The environmentally friendly lodge, which can accommodate up to 122 people, has some traditional bunk rooms and rooms sharing baths but also nontraditional rooms with private baths.
This time of year single-occupancy private rooms are $191 a night for nonmembers and $159 for members; double occupancy is $131 per person for nonmembers and $109 for members. Rooms with shared bath are $77 and $64.
Lodge rates include a full breakfast buffet and a four-course dinner prepared by a professional chef. Wine and beer are sold in the dining room, another departure from old times.
An individual AMC membership is $50 a year; first-time members get a 25 percent discount and pay only $37. Seniors 69 or over pay $25, a definite bargain since a member staying in a private room at Highland Lodge pays $32 less a night than a nonmember.
Seniors contemplating a foray into the White Mountains might want to pick up ''The Old Codger's Guide to Hiking and Climbing in the White Mountains" (Bondcliff, 2005, $12.95). Geared to older mountain travelers, this new 128-page guide has a humorous tone but is full of useful tips on things such as pretrip preparation and what a hiker needs to know on the trail along with recommended hikes from easy strolls to mountain challenges. The identity of the Old Codger of the title is a secret but he is reported to be a veteran outdoorsman.
Walking is always a sociable activity at events sponsored by the American Volkssport Association (www.ava.org), which organizes noncompetitive walks, suitable for just about all ages and popular with seniors, and intended to promote ''health, fitness, and fun." The AVA has 350 clubs around the country that organize some 3,000 walks annually, along with occasional biking, skiing, and swimming events.
The movement began in Germany (it was introduced to this country by returning US servicemen) and much of its terminology and traditions are German. A walk is a volksmarch (''a people's march"), for instance, and at events there is frequently a hospitality tent encouraging sociability and serving, among other things, bratwurst and German-style desserts.
The 5- or 10-kilometer walks are never more than moderately difficult and often easy, and follow scenic routes with points of interest along the way. Volksmarchers usually walk at a leisurely and companionable pace and typically take about two hours to cover 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
It is not necessary to belong to an AVA club to take part in an association-sponsored event. Many walks are free but there is sometimes a small registration fee. Pins and patches commemorating walks, which many AVA members collect from around the country, are usually on sale.
There are two AVA-affiliated clubs in Massachusetts: Two Town Walking Club (978-468-4243), Hamilton; and Walk 'N Mass Volkssport Club (www.ava.org/clubs/walknmass/), Sudbury. Some upcoming in-state walks, all listed with details and directions on the website, are: Oct. 8, Barnstable and Hyannis; Oct. 16, Plainville; and Oct. 29, Duxbury.
September is also seniors month at Old Sturbridge Village (www.osv.org), the living history museum in Sturbridge in Central Massachusetts, which replicates life in a typical New England village in the 1830s. There will be special programs presented with seniors in mind, including talks on agriculture and quilting, horse-drawn wagon rides, and boat cruises on the Quinebaug River, which runs through the village.
All this month visitors over 65 can visit Old Sturbridge Village for a reduced rate of $10. (The regular senior rate is $18.) Seniors who dine weekdays this month also get a 10 percent discount at Oliver Wight Tavern and Bullard Tavern. Wight Tavern is just outside the village; Bullard Tavern is on the grounds.
Special activities for seniors who bring their grandchildren with them are planned for National Grandparents Day today. Grandparents under 65 are welcome to participate but have to pay the regular adult admission of $20; children ages 3 to 7 are $5. Old Sturbridge Village tickets are good for any two days in a 10-day period.
Contact William A. Davis, a freelance writer in Cambridge, at email@example.com. Going Strong, his column on senior travel, appears monthly.